Ben Soja, one of the top MUni downhillers in the world, was visiting Santa Cruz for a conference, so Corbin called a ride. We wound up with a great crew, a dozen riders on a chilly but beautiful day. The ground was super-soft, but unfortunately for Ricardo and Chris, the wood wasn’t. Ricardo won Best Biff(*) trying to get over an off-kilter log stack (I’m sure his thigh is lighting up in all kinds of Christmas colors), and Chris won Best Injury by dislocating his finger on a goofy fall on the train tracks.
It was fun to watch Ben and Josh pushed each other to go big on the jumps, which I’d say they split. Ben was amazing on the steep downhills, which there are a lot of on Chupacabra.
(*) Yes, even with Dragon on the ride!)
Video from Nathan:
We haven’t been doing much road riding lately, but our friend Sam Anderson was running the Slugapalooza bike race down in Santa Cruz, and he was kind enough to let us race a uni heat. We got seven riders out there, with Corbin winning going away, of course, with Harrison second and me third. We got some of the coolest race awards I’ve seen, laser-cut sheet metal slugs which can double as bottle openers. It was a beautiful day, beautiful course, and people really appreciated having us out there.
According to Strava, Corbin’s average speed was 20.8 kph, with a max of 49.0 kph (over 30 mph!) That back stretch was certainly a fun place for a geared 36er.
Our Nepal training took us down to Santa Cruz for an an overnighter this weekend. We rode Soquel Demo Forest on Saturday and Michelle’s Rob’s Ride on Sunday.
Demo Forest was pretty amazing; we had seven riders there who are going to be in Nepal (me, Chris, Ashley, Nathan, Michelle, Stefan, and Corbin). That’s 25% of the tour! We climbed up Buzzard Lagoon, which I’d never done before, and then took the still-under-construction flow trail down, although a couple of folks split off to do Braille Trail instead. Unfortunately the flow trail there isn’t as uni-friendly as the one in Tamarancho, so next time we’re all doing Braille Trail. But it was a great workout, capped off by that soul-sucking climb back to the parking lot at the end.
After a party at Michelle’s place, we crashed down there and then headed to Rob’s in the morning for Rob’s Ride. We went up the newish EMC trail, which adds a whole bunch more dirt to the ride, and looped around in Pogonip to work on our braking skills. Ricardo won Most Broken Unicycle as he taco’ed his Coker wheel, but we kicked it back into shape enough to finish the ride. Dragon won the top 10 biffs, as most of the crew was in don’t-get-[re]-injured mode.
And then, a round of disc golf at the brand new San Jose course to top off the weekend, thanks to Daylight Saving Time. [Verdict: Not bad, but not as dynamic as some of the other South Bay courses, and somewhat punitive in their pin placements.]
Two more training weeks!
We had our biggest training weekend of the winter, with a ride in Joaquin Miller Saturday followed by an expedition to Soquel Demo Forest in Santa Cruz on Sunday. The rides were severely contrasting; in Joaquin Miller we had four local riders, a hiker and a couple of dogs, all solid riding, no biffs. In Santa Cruz we had eight riders from all over, three hikers (including Andy and Irene from Minnesota), and a massive biff-fest.
At home I managed to win Unicycle Bowling, narrowly escaping Best Biff. In Santa Cruz, everyone had spectacular biffs. Particularly notable were Corbin’s brake gliding failure, Josh managing to glance off a tree at incredible high speed after failing to land a huge jump, and Chris eating it off a drop. But Best Biff clearly went to Dragon (as usual) who managed to go down face-first between two elevated logs.
Braille Trail has a brutal fire road climb at the beginning and end. If that weren’t true, we would ride it all the time, because the trail is a beautiful MUni playground that goes on forever. Josh was getting some amazing air on his Oregon, including one slopestyle jump that ended up being at least four feet of vertical, clearing a root eight feet down the trail.
Two weeks to Moab!
This Sunday was the 10th anniversary of Rob’s Ride, a mixed road and dirt ride originally designed for Cokers. They do this every Sunday, and it’s become a big thing, with 36″ wheels joined by Schlumpfs, bikes, and recumbent tandem trikes, among others. This weekend I did it on tandem, and Ashley, Jimbo, and Ricardo headed down, along with a big crew from Santa Cruz; 25 riders in all. Beautiful day down in the southland, and a big thanks to Rob for keeping this tradition going!
Full set of pics